Keeping the environment top of mind during a renovation is good for the planet, of course, but that’s not all. Beyond reducing your carbon footprint, eco-conscious decisions like investing in high-value materials, such as Cosentino countertops and energy-efficient kitchen appliances, can help you save on utilities and repairs in the long run.
We tapped two design experts for advice about remodeling your cook space sustainably. Here, Brittany Farinas, CEO and director at Miami-based design firm House of One, and Amalia Graziani, principal of Noor Property Group, share their top strategies for making your kitchen renovation easier on the earth.
Hire a Green Team
It’s important to work with experts who are as invested in the ethos behind your renovation project as you are. “Architects or contractors with experience building sustainable structures are always helpful,” Farinas says. “They’ll constantly be analyzing ways to reduce your carbon footprint and costs for the project.”
Graziani also suggests hiring local contractors. In addition to understanding the region’s laws and regulations around sustainability and recycling, they can be a great resource when it comes to finding local materials.
Choose Materials Wisely
Longevity should be a top priority when it comes to choosing materials. Silestone from Cosentino is a sustainable (and stylish) option for kitchen countertops. Thanks to the brand’s patent-registered HybriQ technology, this high-performance blend of premium materials includes quartz and recycled materials and is produced using 99 percent recycled water and 100 percent electric energy from renewable sources.
It’s highly resistant to stains, acids, scratches, and impacts from heavy pots and pans, meaning it’s easy to maintain and will last. For extra peace of mind, Silestone provides a 25-year warranty.
Silestone’s latest collection, Le Chic, reimagines the classic veined-stone surfacing we know and love in Cosentino’s sustainable material. Taking inspiration from delicate French and English charm and available in six shades—Versaille Ivory, Bohemian Flame, Eclectic Pearl, Victorian Silver, Parisien Bleu, and Romantic Ash—these surfaces boast all the advantages of Cosentino’s Silestone collection while elevating the aesthetic of your space.
Refurbish Before Replacing
Working with what you already have is a great way to be eco-conscious and save money during the renovation process. “Simply refinishing or refacing surfaces can improve both the structural integrity and value of your home,” Graziani says. “While I always opt for new appliances, I’ve reimagined millwork and cabinetry with refinishing and staining.”
Farinas is also a fan of preserving cabinetry: “I recently refreshed the original cabinets in a Spanish Mediterranean-style home with a fresh coat of green paint, and it turned out stunning.”
Opt for Energy-Efficient Appliances
When shopping for appliances, look for options with ENERGY STAR certification. Products with this stamp of approval meet the strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meaning they can help you save both energy and money. For example, a standard-size ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher can save you around 3,870 gallons of water over its average lifespan, while an EPA-approved refrigerator can save you more than $220 over its approximately 12-year lifetime.
Consider Passive Designs
If you’re completely gutting your kitchen, passive design choices—the practice of maximizing natural light and heat to reduce energy usage—can lower utility bills. “Windows can be oriented to capture and maximize low winter light and block out harsh summer light,” Graziani says. “And skylights can be incorporated into designs to reduce lighting and electricity needs.”
She also suggests being thoughtful with landscaping. In fact, according to the EPA, “Shade trees can reduce cooling energy costs by 7 to 47 percent and are greatest when trees are planted to the west and southwest of buildings.”
While a green renovation might cost more money up front, you’ll reap the benefits of any eco-conscious decisions you make for years to come. “Low-flow faucets, for example, can help you save water, while insulation and energy-efficient appliances can help with electricity and heating bills,” Graziani explains. “Studies have also shown that homes with green certification sell, on average, 5 percent above market value.”
It’s smart to apply this type of long-range thinking to design and decor choices too. Opting for timeless rather than trendy helps ensure your space won’t look and feel outdated after a few years.